Old ''British-era'' Steel Bridge across the river Kollidam Trichi - another pier collapsed this August

Kollidam old steel bridge, Trichy, TN 1928.thehindu.com

Above image:  A section of British-era cast iron steel bridge across the Kollidam river in Tiruchirappalli. Built in 1928 in the place of an arched stone bridge that was washed away due to flooding prior to 1928.     

old image Kollidam old steel bridge, Trichy, TN indiatimes.com

The old steel bridge across the river Kollidam- a distributary of the Cauvery river  connecting  Srirangam  island and the mainland of Tiruchirappalli  is a historical one and has not been in use ever since a new modern bridge came up close to it in 2014.  Initially, pedestrians and cyclists used the  steel bridge and over a period of time after 2016 it fell  into disuse due to  lack of care and maintenance. Its stability was in question!   Some sections of the bridge  became structurally weak because of  heavy flow of water in the river during heavy rains in the catchment area in the Kudagu region of Karnataka. Besides torrential rains  also posed problems to the 90 plus year old steel bridge.  

Citing the age of the steel bridge, the TN government had  built a new  and a wider bridge across the river in 2014, but the PWD failed to maintain the old colonial bridge,  After 2016, this heritage bridge was left abandoned by the  government officials and it appeared that they never understood  the heritage value of  such structures or bridges. Often they would let them rot if they fell into disuse, not caring about their historical value and responsibility of   preserving them  for the posterity. Since independence in many states, we've lost many heritage structures, monuments, etc., because of total neglect. 

The 792 meter long cast iron steel bride is set on  well-built  24 -stone piers across the Kollidam river  during the colonial period in 1928. It used to  connect the No 1 toll gate in Srirangam and until 2014 it was an important bridge connecting the city with places like Chennai, Salem etc. The  entire  cast iron steel bridge was made by " Braithwaite & Company Engineers Ltd " in England and the parts were shipped to the  worksite via Madras  harbor. Considering its durability and unique configuration, it was a land marl bridge in this town for a long time. 

In August  2018 a couple  piers _ 118th and 19th  of Kollidam bridge  collapsed and got   washed away in the  river.  The incident happened because of sudden flow of 87000 cusecs of water released into the Kollidam river at Mukkombu barrage. here, at the barrage, 9 shutters got washed away in August 2018. Plans were afoot to construct a new barrage as the other one was pretty old. Roughly Rs. 387 crores was set aside for the new one.  

Mokkombu barrage near tiruchy, TN tamil.news18.com

This year in August because of heavy flow of water in the Cauvery river coupled with torrential rains  according to sources, the 17 th pier of the damaged Kollidam  steel bridge  in disuse caved in due to strong water current. 

As the old barrage at Mukkombu is centuries old, new one came up recently this year and  the vents of the  barrage across the Kollidam river were opened to release 68,000 cusecs of the excess water to both Cauvery and Kollidam rivers. The district administration gave a flood alert to the people living close to the rivers as the Mettur dam was full to the capacity and roughly 1.29 lakh cusecs of water was  being discharged from the Mettur dam. 

The old barrage at Mukkombu was designed and built by popular engineer  Sir Arthur Cotton (May 1803 - July 1899)   between 1834 and 1836. Later the bridge over the barrage was built in 1845. Engineer Sir Cotton built the famous  the Dowleswaram Barrage across Godavari, AP in 1852. 

If the water flow and torrential rain continue what will happen to the weaker section of the old steel bridge  across the Kollidam river? Officials  concerned keep their fingers crossed.